Between 21 May and 1 June, the Digital Shoreditch Festival marked the outstanding creative, technical and entrepreneurial talent of East London and Tech City.
As a Gold Sponsor of the festival, City University London had a cross-disciplinary presence, with participation by the School of Informatics, the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, the Cass Business School, the Department of Journalism, the Enterprise Office, Careers and Marketing.
Leo Castellanos from the Enterprise Office, who led the coordination of the different Schools and Departments into a City-wide concerted effort, stressed the importance of the festival for the University. He said: “The Digital Shoreditch Festival is a stepping-stone for City to tackle the phenomenon of Silicon Roundabout and engage with its community. Our objective is to raise City’s profile in Tech City and promote the message that City is the partner of choice for Tech City businesses, for everything from student internships and graduate recruitment to short courses and Continuing Professional Development to consultancy, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and collaborative research. The opportunity to engage with Tech City will in turn attract high-quality students and academics.”
City’s own Journalism students, led by John Rennie, Lecturer in Journalism, produced a digital newspaper for the festival and some of the Informatics students volunteered at the festival.
During the two weeks of Digital Shoreditch, City put on a number of events aimed at the local digital media community: the “Digital Marketing Workshop” demonstrated elements of City’s short course in Digital Marketing; the “Grow your business with City” offered a real insight into the current state and the future of the digital media sector in the UK and globally and provided plenty of opportunities for informal networking with City’s leading academics, local business and entrepreneurs, and successful investors; and the “Open Day at the City Interaction Lab” showed cutting-edge technologies which can be used to evaluate how people interact with digital content, including eye-tracking, mobile testing and multitouch interaction.
In partnership with Queen Mary, University of London, City also organised the landmark “Innovate day”, held in the Shoreditch festival headquarters at Hackney House on 22 May. The event was opened by Maggie Philbin, the high-tech specialist and reporter on BBC 1’s Inside Out. She gave a talk on what defines innovation. In the ‘Better Conversations’ section, City’s Dr Sara Jones and Dr Stephen Clulow led the discussion exploring the ways in which businesses and universities can collaborate more successfully. There was also a special exhibition demonstrating digital work (games, apps and hacks) created as part of ongoing collaborations.